The renowned Dutch ceramic sculptor Wouter Dam creates objects that are minimalist at first glance. Yet they are always complex and intriguing, leading the eye around soft curves and sharp edges and pleasing in a meditative way. Every new object Dam creates is unique. While all appear to be subtle variations on a same theme, each one is different from all that have gone before.
Dam confesses to being obsessed with the sculptural side of clay yet he still uses many traditional pottery methods such as throwing on a potter’s wheel to create his sculptures. His abstract ceramic sculptures are the result of a quest that started with traditional pots altered with minimalist intent. Over the years, they slowly became more open and complex and now consist only of curling strips of clay, barely disclosing the essential “potness” and “bowlness” of their forebears. In spite of appearances, one can still trace back the making process of the pieces to the potter’s wheel. Colors are chosen to enhance the sculpture; the pigments are sprayed onto the surface, adding nothing more than is necessary.
In the past, his strong colors emphasized the sculptural side of clay, stressing big contrasts between light and dark. The subtlety of color in this new work is not a retreat from his previous intense statements. Rather it is a clear declaration of continuing growth and maturity. It has been said that a pure sculptor thinks only of the outside. And many—if not most—ceramists think primarily in terms of glazes, especially shiny glazes. Neither of these two facets has ever really interested Dam. A true ceramic sculptor, matte surfaces and the malleable nature of clay have been his hallmark for more than twenty years.
“I don’t try to do conceptual art. I want people to create their own ideas when they look at my work. That is why I do not give them titles. For me the main thing is that people are pleased when they truly look.” Dam's work is represented in the leading museums and private collections in Europe, Japan, and the United States.